The World’s Best Places to Launch a Startup

You’re ready to launch your startup: you’ve got the unique solution to a problem your highly-targeted niche never knew they had. You’re ready to put down your roots and open up office, and while you can picture every detail of your booming new business in your mind’s eye, one piece remains blank: the background.

Choosing a location for your startup is no easy decision. You need to be able to network with the right people, hire a skilled and educated staff, and get support from the government and your community. If you think Silicon Valley’s the only place you can find this perfect storm for startups, check again: you’ve got a lot more choices open for you than you think.

We’ve entered into a new era of entrepreneurship, and it’s not limited to one city, or even one continent. Global startup rates are surging, with up to 25% increases in countries from Chile to China.

Startup capitals can be found in countries the world over, from London, home of TweetDeck and MindCandy, to Santiago, Chile, where SlideBean and Spowit were launched. And Silicon Valley’s not the only place where business benefits and beautiful weather combine: You can enjoy the tropical climate in Bangalore, India, the entrepreneurial capital of India, home to successful high-tech startups like ZoomCar and HackerEarth.

No matter where you hail from, many governments are happy to give you incentives to set up shop within their borders. Chile, for one, is encouraging startups from all over the world to come south of the equator with Start-Up Chile, a program that has partnered up with big companies like PayPal, Amazon, and Microsoft to offer visas and grants to tempt new entrepreneurs.

If you’re determined to stick to the United States, California isn’t your only choice. Locales from coast to coast are seeing new business booms, from Seattle, Washington (home of Cheezburger), to Boulder, Colorado (home of Foundry Group), all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts (home of HubSpot).

With today’s global startup sturge, there are more locations than ever to choose from. Take a look at some of the cities below to learn some of the pros and cons of each location, and weigh which locale may offer the most benefits for your business.

Where to Launch Your Startup

The World’s Best Places to Launch Your Startup (Hint: Not Silicon Valley)

Got an idea for a killer startup? Instead of relocating to the Silicon Valley, check out these metropolitan areas.

Bangalore, India

  • Population: 9,621,551
  • Considered the entrepreneurial capital of India.
  • What Types of Startups are Here: High tech
    • Companies Launched Here:
      • com: Trip planner
      • HackerEarth: Connecting Programmers to talent seekers
      • Zoom: Car sharing company
  • Why It’s Good for Startups: Bangalore also hosts its own Startup Weekend to highlight local area startups. There’s a good entrepreneurial culture here, which fosters the growth of additional startups. There’s a diverse workforce with high IT skills, too.

Boulder, Colorado

  • Population: 101,173
  • Tech Startup Density: 3
    • Density is measured by comparing the concentrations of startups in the area against a national average, compared against the population of the area against the average U.S. population.
    • Six times the national average
  • BA or Higher: 40,328
    • 8% of labor force
  • Startups: 242
    • Foundry Group
    • SendGrid
    • PreCog
  • Companies Making Acquisitions in the Area:
    • Google®
    • Microsoft®
    • AOL®
    • Oracle®
  • What Types of Startups are Here: high tech startups, six times more per capita than the national average.
  • Why It’s Good for Startups
    • Boulder County ranks among the top 20 most productive metro areas in terms of GDP.
    • Unemployment is 5.4%, nearly two points below the national average, and a full point under the goal for the country.

Toronto, Canada

  • Population: 7 million people
  • Labor Force: 2 million people
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Technology, specifically wearable tech
    • Companies Launched Here:
      • FreshBooks: online accounting/billing/payroll software
        • 5 million+ users
      • InteraXon: Wearable tech company focusing on brain controlled interface (BCI) technology
      • Bionym: Specializes in wearable tech
        • Nymi is device that allows you to use your heart rhythm for identification purposes, so you no longer need to store passwords or pins.
  • Why It’s Good for Startups: Toronto is the business and financial capital of Canada. It’s home to an annual Startup Weekend that highlights the area’s startup businesses. Crowdfunding is hot in the area.

Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Massachusetts

  • Cambridge
    • Population: 106,291
    • BA or Higher: 49,296
      • 79% of labor force
  • Newton
    • Population: 85,927
    • BA or Higher: 41,764
      • 94% of labor force
  • Framingham
    • Population: 68,858
    • BA or Higher: 20,462
      • 21% of labor force
  • Tech Startup Density: 4
  • Startups:
    • Cambridge: 285
      • Project 11
      • HubSpot
      • FormLabs
    • Newton: 18
      • RentAnAC
      • Gellért Health
    • Framingham: 7
      • M-Scribe
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Tech
  • Why It’s Good for Startups:
    • Boston and surrounding areas have built a reputation on innovation, and is well known for education from top universities such as MIT.
    • The area has a lot of networking opportunities and provides a good quality of life.

London, U.K.

  • Population: 17 million (2011 census); most populous European city
  • Labor Force: 4,360,000 (77.8% employment)
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Finance, Tech, Advertising and Design Firms
    • Companies Launched Here:
      • TweetDeck: Now owned by Twitter, this app lets you customize your Twitter experience.
        • Manage multiple Twitter accounts, see @ mentions and replies, and follow hashtags, all on one screen.
      • Mind Candy: Online gaming company
      • Shazam: Ad-free Music and TV app
        • Connects more than 420 million users in 200 countries to their favorite songs and TV shows
  • Why It’s Good for Startups: Major tech giants like Facebook and Google are investing in offices here. The London government is investing $70 million into building out “Tech City” to attract giants.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington

  • Seattle
    • Population: 631,391
    • BA or Higher: 248,616
      • 13% of labor force
  • Bellevue
    • Population: 133,259
    • BA or Higher: 56,222
      • 31% of labor force
  • Everett
    • Population: 106,512
    • BA or Higher: 13,708
      • 91% of labor force
  • Tech Startup Density: 4
  • Startups:
    • Seattle: 825 companies
      • Zulily
      • Cheezburger
      • Chef
    • Bellevue: 97
      • Shippable
      • Azuqua
      • Scale Grid
    • Everett: 2
      • TBA
      • Zenerx
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Tech, like PopCap Games
  • Why It’s Good for Startups:
    • Seattle ranks number three in best-reviewed small businesses, five in concentration of computer software and service businesses, four in businesses with Facebook pages, and number six in businesses most likely to accept credit cards.
    • Tech giants Microsoft and Amazon® are here, too.

Tel Aviv, Israel

  • Population: 404,800 residents
  • Labor Force: 392,200 employees in 2011
    • 13% of all employees in Israel
      • 3% of the employees are city residents
      • 5% live in the Greater Tel Aviv Metropolis
  • Highest density of tech startups in the world
    • Focus on smaller “tech driven” markets
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Tech based startups
    • Companies Launched Here:
      • Babylon: Language learning, translation, and dictionary software products
      • Mirabilis: The company behind instant messaging software, ICQ®
      • Wix®: a DIY web design platform that now employees 500 people with offices in New York, San Francisco, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and Vilnius, Lithuania.
      • Wishi: Wear It Share It: a social network for choosing fashion
  • Why It’s Good for Startups: Per capita, Israel is home to the most engineers. They are talented in programming, marketing, and product development is second only to the Silicon Valley. In 2013, $2.2 billion was invested in 650 Israeli startups.

Santiago, Chile

  • Population: 8 million
  • What Types of Startups are Here: Tech
    • Companies Launched Here:
      • Wanako Games: Online gaming console
      • SlideBean: Create slide presentations
      • SpowIt: Mobile e-commerce solution
  • Why It’s Good for Startups: There’s a government funded initiative, Start-Up Chile, aimed at attracting entrepreneurs to the area, offering $40,000 grants and visas to those who are interested.

“Like having a child, running a startup is the sort of experience that’s hard to imagine unless you’ve done it yourself.” – Paul Graham

Note: Start-ups are determined by current data from Angel.co and may not be representative of all the startups in the area.

Sources

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